ROTH: GPA not the best indicator of academic success

He gets home after a full day of school and a two hour basketball practice.  He takes a shower and pulls his iPad out of his backpack.  After opening MyHomework, he realizes he has two hours of 010_ROTH_HENRYhomework and three tests the next day.  Influenced by exhaustion, he decides to just go to sleep instead of doing his work.  The next day he fails his math test, and his GPA drops a half point.

The reason many schools invoke an eligibility program with athletes is because administrations feel like student athletes will slack off with their studies and devote all of their time to sports.  Grade point average represents how much work is put in by a student, but it inaccurately shows academic ability.  I propose that Rockhurst teachers begin using more in class assignments and class projects as a larger part of the grade scale for students.

A student can be the smartest kid in the class, but co-curricular activities can get the best of him.  On the other side, an average student can get better grades, because he has more time to study test material.  Rockhurst heavily encourages students to get involved in clubs or other activities to better the Rockhurst experience.  The rarely-mentioned caveat is that these activities could lead to a GPA drop because of a lack of time to study and do assignments. This can put students at an academic disadvantage for participating in what the school encourages.  With the majority of students at Rockhurst involved in these activities outside of school, GPA’s schoolwide could be misrepresentations.

At times, students are required to choose between sleep and homework.  Sleep is heavily stressed by the school around the time of final exams, but it is never mentioned outside of these times in December and May.  The school should stress the importance of sleep for high school students year round.

GPA’s should not be compared, because every situation differs from student to student.  Student A may put all of his time into his academics and be in Honors or AP courses, which included a weighted GPA scale, while Student B may be involved in a sport and several clubs which take up the majority of his time.

“Between the seven hours of school and the three or more hours of practice, driving home, showering, and eating dinner, by the time you are ready to start homework it’s late and you’re extremely tired,” sophomore football player Nick Rosenstock said.  “More often than not you don’t get some of the homework done and your GPA suffers because of it.”

Another aspect of GPA’s that is not often looked upon is cheating.  With technology growing, it is easier than ever to cheat using the internet.  High scoring students that cheat would have a significantly lower GPA if they were unable to have this advantage.

Grade point averages are such a huge part of academics.  They go on college applications, qualify or disqualify students from taking certain courses and serve as a benchmark for students and their peers.  Academics should be focused more on ability, and cater to ability rather than effort.


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